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Cable Operators

On-Demand Window Is Wide Shut

10/10/2009 2:00 AM Eastern

November will be a milestone month for the video-on-demand movie category, with a record number of Hollywood titles being released to cable operators day and date with home video.

VOD-content distributor In Demand said that 11 of the 16 new titles from major studio outlets debuting next month on VOD will be available to its affiliates at the same time as they hit Blockbuster Video store shelves and Netflix DVD mail-distribution hubs. Among the titles are such box-office hits as Sony’s Angels & Demons.

Angels and DemonsThe move is the latest in a growing trend as movie studios turn to VOD to generate revenue opportunities for their product amidst a sluggish home video-rental business. Through the end of November, operators so far this year will have offered more than 100 titles from major Hollywood studios on a day-and-date basis with home video, nearly five times more than just two years ago.

In Demand expects that in 2010, at least half of all VOD movies offered will be day and date with home video.

“There’s a lot of energy and momentum around day and date — we’ve all been striving for this for quite some time,” In Demand interim CEO Bob Benya said. “I think the studios have seen good results when they work with the industry regarding the earlier window.”

The 11 day-and-date titles set for November cover a wide range in terms of theatrical box-office numbers, studio outlets and genres. Along with The Da Vinci Code sequel Angels and Demons, which drew $133 million at the box office, other day-and-date titles in the month include Sony’s thriller The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 ($64 million); Fox’s romantic comedy I Love You, Beth Cooper ($14 million); and kids-themed Aliens in The Attic ($23 million); as well as Universal’s adult comedy Funny People ($51 million).

While November isn’t typically a strong month for VOD purchases, Benya said the industry is poised to generate significant on-demand revenue due to the wealth of day-and-date titles. Typically, day-and-date titles tend to perform 50% better than movies within the traditional window, according to Benya.

Aubrey Freeborn, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment senior vice president of marketing and product management for worldwide PPV and VOD, said she has been encouraged by the performance of day-and-date VOD content.

“At the end of the day, we’re trying to give consumers opportunities to consume our products on all platforms,” she said. “We’ve had several day-and-date titles across 2009, and we are excited about the increased number of transactions we’ve seen on a VOD basis,” she added, without revealing specific figures.

Further, results from a two-year Comcast day-and-date test that began in 2007 with several studios in select Comcast markets confirmed that offering titles on VOD in the same window as DVD actually boosted on-demand buys and had little impact on DVD sales.

“Everything about the day-and-date model is working,” said Comcast senior vice president and general manager of video Derek Harrar. “The studios are coming to us more and more with better and better films, and our consumers are enjoying the opportunity to watch newly released films as quickly as possible.”

 

NOVEMBER’S LINEUP
Day-and-date titles to hit VOD next month:

Movie Studio Box office
*Does not include theatrical day-and-date releases
SOURCE: In Demand LLC
Angels & Demons
Sony $133 M
Four Christmases Warner Bros. $120 M
The Ugly Truth Sony $83 M
The Taking Of Pelham 123 Sony $64 M
Bruno Universal $60 M
Funny People Universal $50 M
My Sister’s Keeper Warner Bros. $47 M
Aliens In The Attic Fox $23 M
Shorts Warner Bros. $18 M
I Love You, Beth Cooper Fox $14 M
Food, Inc. Magnolia 3.8 M
September